Bennett Miller's "Moneyball" lands in theaters nationwide this Friday. (Check out our interview with the director here.) On newsstands today, though, the film gets a healthy boost by having its star, Brad Pitt, grace the cover of Sports Illustrated magazine.

It's rare for a non-sports figure to be featured on the magazine. After all, it's kind of a big deal for an athlete to finally make it to such an echelon, so to have a celeb like Pitt just waltz onto the gloss, well, I imagine it might be a bit irritating for some. But this could turn into a trend for sports films.

Just last year, "The Fighter" stars Mark Wahlberg and Christian Bale turned heads when they were featured (rather goofily, I might add -- it would have been cooler if they were in character) on the cover of the magazine. It was a shrewd move for Paramount Pictures and certainly played a hand in raising awareness for the film. So kudos to Sony for nailing this down. It kind of seems like a no-brainer, really.

Continue reading to see the full cover, plus some comments from Pitt featured in the issue.

Via Inside Sports Illustrated:

Pitt’s background (or lack thereof) in baseball: “It’s shameful how little I know about baseball…I’m amazed they let me do this movie…Baseball and I didn’t get along that well. I wrestled one year [in high school]. I dove one year. Everything but baseball.”

How Pitt acquitted himself to his role as a baseball lifer: “I’m an Oklahoma-Missouri boy, so I’m no stranger to a bit of dip. We start early with that, so really, I was just revisiting my roots.”

What Pitt was initially drawn to about the story:
“I’m a sucker for the underdog story.”

The end goal of the film: “What we were trying to do is tell an unconventional story in the Trojan horse of a conventional baseball movie.”

The comparisons Pitt makes to the movie and three of his favorite 1970s films ("The French Connection," "One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest" and "All the President’s Men"):
“In scripts today, someone has a big epiphany, learns a lesson, then comes out the other side different. In these older films I’m talking about, the beast at the end of the movie was the same beast in the beginning of the movie. What changed was the world around them, by just a couple of degrees. Nothing monumental. I think that’s true about us. We fine?tune ourselves, but big change is not real.”

There are also interviews with Bennett Miller and co-star Jonah Hill in the issue, as well as source material author Michael Lewis and, of course, Oakland A's General Manager Billy Beane, who Pitt portrays in the film.

Here's the cover:

Bradd Pitt graces the cover of Sports Illustrated